The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals declined to review a challenge to the constitutionality of the subpoenas issued by former Rep. Robert K. Dornan as part of his quest to unseat Loretta Sanchez (D-Garden Grove), who defeated him by 984 votes last year.
Sanchez and Hermandad Mexicana Nacional, the Santa Ana civil rights group accused of illegally registering noncitizens to vote in the 46th Congressional District race, had contested the validity of the subpoenas.
While Dornan's lawyers hailed the court's failure to hear an appeal as a victory, Sanchez's attorney said the ruling will have virtually no effect on Dornan's long-running effort to overturn the election.
"The practical effect is nil," said Fred Woocher, saying that Dornan admitted in legal papers that the matter was moot.
The appeal resulted from a rare procedural circumstance in which U.S. District Judge Gary L. Taylor ruled last month that the matter was significant enough to permit an immediate appeal in a pending case.
But the appellate court, which rarely hears appeals in pending cases, issued an order Friday declining to take the case.